While the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press is conveniently urging its readers to “look over there” at the hated BBC and its disclosure of how much its talent pool is paid, the Murdoch mafiosi are reverting to type and trying to make Culture Secretary Karen Bradley an offer she can’t refuse, as they ramp up the pressure on Theresa May’s beleaguered Government to wave through the Sky takeover.
One might have thought that, given the past behaviour of Rupe’s troops and the well-documented bad behaviour at the late and not at all lamented Screws, the still emerging revelations about the Sun’s phone hacking activities and those of “Fake Sheikh” Mazher Mahmood, and the recent meltdown at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), that Don Rupioni and the rest of the Cosa Rupra would stop and think before acting.
But it seems that thought would have been misplaced, as the contents of an emailed letter from lawyers Allen & Overy to the DCMS have been made public. This is headed “Proposed acquisition byTwenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (21CF) of the remaining shares in Sky plc (Sky)”, and passes forthright adverse comment on a letter from former Labour leader Mil The Younger to Ms Bradley on the proposed takeover.
“In particular, Ed Miliband MP has published a letter sent to the Secretary of State and co-authored by Sir Vince Cable MP, Kenneth Clarke MP and the Lord Falconer of Thoroton (the Miliband Letter) that urges the Secretary of State to refer the transaction in relation to the broadcasting standards public interest consideration (the Broadcasting Standards PIC)”, they observe.
Then comes the bullying: “A reversal of the Secretary of State’s decision that she is minded not to make a CMA reference in relation to the Broadcasting Standards PIC would be irrational. Bowing to the political pressure of the Miliband Letter would constitute the most blatant form of political interference, and would critically undermine the integrity of the quasi-judicial nature of the Secretary of State’s role in this process”.
And a little more bullying: “The Miliband Letter presents no new, let alone substantial, evidence in relation to the Broadcasting Standards PIC … one of the co-authors of the
letter – Sir Vince Cable – was reported to have stated ‘I have declared war on Mr Murdoch’ when he was … in charge of ruling on News Corporation’s proposed acquisition of Sky in 2010 and before receiving the initial Ofcom report at the time, thereby displaying one of the most egregious examples of bias in decision making in recent years”.
And a little more yet: “21CF trusts that the Secretary of State will dismiss these flagrant political attempts to interfere in the regulatory process and its timing … By doing so, 21CF is confident that the Secretary of State should be able to reach a final decision on a reference to the CMA in the coming days, thereby avoiding any further delay to the timetable for concluding the regulatory review of the proposed transaction”. And so ends the lesson in sheer brass neck.
How dare these politicians interfere in the decision making process of the DCMS, say the appalled Murdochs. That, as any fule kno, is their job.